A former Special Adviser to the Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Abiodun Essiet, led the call during PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, an anti-corruption radio programme produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja.
Speaking on factors capable of hindering anti-corruption plans of the current Federal Government, Essiet, who harped on reforms, however, stressed that getting rid of corruption in public service must start with President Tinubu appointing credible, selfless and serious people into his cabinets as ministers. Adding that, the government must also be ready to wield its big stick on Directors of MDAs and anyone who enables corruption in the service.
“Reform and restructuring of public service will be an excellent way to start, and the Chief of staff to the president, who was the former speaker of the House of Representatives, also was a champion of reforms in the public services, now that he is very close to the power I hope he is going to practice what he preached on the reforms.
“For us to really look critically into what is going on in the public service, it will start by appointing ministers who are credible and ready to work for this government and not for the government to serve them – ministers who are selfless and ready to help this government.”
She called on the Federal Government to review the Stephen Oronsaye report and cut down the over 300 government MDAs, insisting they contribute to the rot in the public sector.
Essiet lamented the lack of digitization of the operations of MDAs and reforms over the years as one of the main reasons the public service is entangled in one form of corruption or the other.
On his part, the Programme Coordinator at Social Development Integrated Centre, Isaac Botti, urged President Tinubu not only to appoint credible individuals as ministers but review all existing programs of the previous administration and pick up from where the previous government stopped.
Botti noted that the Tinubu administration must have the political will to fight corruption and ought to remove all biases as well as avoid cronyism if it must succeed.
His words: “I agree that there is a need to appoint the right set of people to work with Mr. President. I think it goes beyond that.
“What about the various anti-corruption policies, programs, and initiatives that the country has? To what extent are they implemented? For me, that should be the starting point. If the system is correct, whoever gets there will comply with the system because the system is designed in a way that will not permit corruption.
“For instance, there is a need for the whistleblowing policy to have a law to back it up to protect the whistleblower and because this is one of the things that will encourage anyone who wants to speak up.”
Some Nigerians who joined the radio programme from Abuja, the Nigeria’s capital, and Lagos also lent their voices to the call for President Tinubu to appoint trustworthy people into his cabinet, resist using ministerial appointment as political patronage and as well as frontally tackle corruption in MDAs.
Comrade Israel Ogunyemi, who called in from Lagos, said:” I think putting friends in power rather than putting professionals will mess up the administration. So I want to beg the president, he should go beyond politics and look for technocrats who can assist his administration.”
Godwin from Abuja said: “One of the problems is that the President is going to appoint people that helped him win elections. I think by appointing people that helped you win elections or your favourite people. It will encourage more corruption.”
Recall that the immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari, had signed into law a bill mandating presidents and governors to submit the names of persons nominated as Ministers or Commissioners within sixty days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate or State House of Assembly.
This implies President Tinubu and state governors have less than 25 days to nominate ministers and commissioners.
Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program PRIMORG uses to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program has the support of the MacArthur Foundation.